Produce for Better Health Foundation Launches Lead the Change Movement
BRENTWOOD, MO - It is never enough to simply wish for change. A lack of produce consumption in the United States has long been recognized as an issue, but little has been done outside our industry to move the needle on this trend. Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) has offered a prime example of how we can truly have an impact on consumption, recently launching its Lead the Change Movement in an effort to shift eating behaviors.
“With nine out of 10 Americans not eating enough fruits and vegetables each day, PBH, with its members, recognized the significant consumption crisis affecting not just our health, but also our culture, society, and economy,” began Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, President and CEO. “PBH has a unique position within the produce industry as a thought leader and convener, to bring stakeholders together to identify solutions in a spirit of continuous improvement, sparking innovation and stronger industry collaboration for lasting and meaningful consumption behavior changes.”
PBH first introduced this concept to its Board of Trustees in January to help unify produce industry stakeholders and food system thought leaders in closing the consumption gap and developing innovative, behavior-based solutions that help people enjoy more fruits and vegetables for happier, healthier lives. The organization was urged by the Board to create a strategic framework for Lead The Change that roots the call-to-action in research, and builds upon the collective excellence and values of the fruit and vegetable industry.
“We have recently led comprehensive behavioral research to better understand disparities and challenges that have contributed to the fruit and vegetable consumption intention-action gap. Research shows that, while people know fruits and vegetables support better health, there is a significant need to inspire and change behaviors by tapping into how people feel about eating fruits and vegetables to effectively influence what they do,” Wendy explained. “This know-feel-do behavioral framework, along with PBH’s best-in-class fruit and vegetable consumption research, will be the basis for Lead The Change efforts that are action-oriented to drive and improve fresh produce consumption.”
Leaders and supporters at PBH believe that the only way to truly transform Americans’ fruit and vegetable consumption behaviors is through a food system-based approach that embraces the contributions of all sectors. With so many Americans not eating enough fruits and vegetables each day, it’s a pivotal time for the produce industry to be inclusive and work across and within sectors—and with other food group partners—to identify how we can collectively solve the consumption challenge.
“The multi-sector engagement is key to ensure we bring together stakeholders at all steps of the produce supply chain who bring fruits and vegetables to Americans each day, from farming and processing to packaging and foodservice,” said Wendy. “Retail is a critical sector within our food system, bringing fruits and vegetables in all forms to Americans. As a multi-sector movement, Lead The Change will rely on retail partners who can work with other industry stakeholders to share successes and create insights-driven and innovative solutions that can change consumption behaviors in a lasting and meaningful way.”
Toward the end of our conversation, Wendy noted that there is plenty more to come as PBH continues to build the Lead The Change movement, along with a multi-sector coalition of influential stakeholders, thought leaders, and academic experts. PBH is in the process of creating this coalition as an innovation incubator-type forum to identify ideas and inspire solutions as well as activate the know-feel-do behavioral framework.
As we know well in this industry, change isn’t going to come on its own. So, my produce friends, keep on getting out there and leading the charge.